Deputy President William Ruto has denied claims of ever participating in extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and corrupt land deals.
While responding to allegations raised by photojournalist-cum-activist Boniface Mwangi in a defamation suit, the Deputy President wants him to be asked to produce evidence over the accusations.
“The DP denies that he has a leadership role in the design and implementation of a policy of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances,” said his lawyer, Mr Kioko Kilukumi.
In filed case documents, the Deputy President insists that the International Criminal Court did not find him guilty of having committed any offence. He further says the findings of the Pre-Trial Chamber were merely procedural as they were to determine whether he was to be tried.
The DP also said he has been an “innocent purchaser for value” in the acquisition of immovable property as per the law. Since the activist had alleged that Mr Ruto had described him as alcohol-dependent, the DP said the words he used were taken out of context as he did not refer to him in that way.
“A careful review of the words used by the Deputy President will confirm that he referred to a class or group of people who spend an extraordinary amount of time on the social media and drinking without engaging in any productive work capable of earning them an income or underwriting their living expenses,” said Mr Kilukumi.
He argued that the quoted words were not offensive or defamatory and described Mr Mwangi as a “rabble-rouser camouflaged as a public-spirited individual”.
On his famous self-proclaimed name ‘hustler’, he said it refers to a ‘sufferer’, also spelt as ‘safara’, an individual who struggles to make ends meet.
He said he uses it to describe his background, and that all other meanings are the creations of political opponents and do not reflect his reputation.
The DP also said Mr Mwangi’s published material about him was not a fair comment as claimed, and is, therefore, not justifiable.
“The occupation of a State officer does not entitle Mr Mwangi to publish defamatory content against him. He has lived up to the standards prescribed by the Constitution and all other written laws, as well as being true to his oath of office,” said Mr Kilukumi.
The legal tussle between the DP and the activist was ignited by a September 30 post on the social media by the latter that linked the former to the death of businessman Jacob Juma. The businessman was killed on May 5.
The alleged offensive post on Twitter by Mr Mwangi attracted 556 retweets and 476 likes, eliciting different reactions and prompted the DP to demand an apology.
Since Mr Mwangi denied his post was offensive, the DP moved to court seeking compensation over the alleged defamatory statement.